A Chilean man who is believed to have come to London especially to steal from tourists has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.
Emilio Guerrero-Sepulveda, 63, stole cash and items worth an estimated £30,000 from tourists at Heathrow Airport and around the capital during at least two trips to London.
He was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for 11 counts of theft at Isleworth Crown Court yesterday (Thursday).
Guerrero-Sepulveda was caught by officers from the Met’s Aviation Policing Crime Squad, who studied hours of CCTV footage at Heathrow Airport between August and September 2015 and March and August this year.
CCTV stills were then able to link him to thefts across Westminster and Hillingdon, and the arrest of another man in Camberwell proved to be the final piece of the puzzle; after detectives found paperwork with Guerrero-Sepulveda’s name on in the man’s possession, they were able to identify the prolific thief as the man in the CCTV.
Officers arrested Guerrero-Sepulveda as he attempted to board a flight to Santiago, Chile, on 12 September.
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His single highest value theft was from a man eating with a friend and their children at Selfridges on Oxford Street. Guerrero-Sepulveda stole the man’s camera bag, the total value of which was £8,800.
The second highest value theft was at Heathrow Airport, when he stole from a woman who had just arrived from Nigeria. He took her bag, containing cash and goods worth approximately £7,400, from the top of a luggage trolley.
On another occasion, he stole an 84-year-old woman’s handbag, containing £160 cash, from her mobility scooter while she was shopping at a supermarket in Uxbridge.
The court heard that Guerrero-Sepulveda had previous convictions for theft in the USA and France.
Investigating officer PC Tom Blair, of the Aviation Policing Crime Squad, said: “Guerrero-Sepulveda is a prolific thief. He largely targeted people he guessed were tourists, and whom he anticipated would be carrying large amounts of cash on them.
“He took advantage of people who, unlike him, had come to the UK to enjoy the sights and make good memories, and instead turned their visit into a nightmare.
“The Met is determined to stop thieves like Guerrero-Sepulveda, to keep London safe for tourists. We believe Guerrero-Sepulveda was part of a wider network of tourist-targeting thieves and continue to investigate the involvement of others.”